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Dealing with Depression

Most of us face depression at times – I know I do. But for some of us it’s all too common and it lasts way too long. I’ve learned how to make it less frequent and how to get over it quickly. Using some simple methods, I can usually snap out of it in a day.

 Depression usually means we’re dissatisfied with something. It helps to talk if you have a good listener handy, one who won’t tell you “you shouldn’t feel that way,” or offer you glib but insensitive advice. John Gray made a fortune with his Men-are-from-Mars-women-are-from-Venus approach by simply instructing people how to be better listeners instead of fixers, but great listeners are rare. That’s why people pay me $125 an hour for personal consultations.

 But what do you do if you don’t know any great listeners or you can’t afford $125 an hour? I highly recommend a paper psychiatrist. That’s what I call constructive journaling. Pour out all your thoughts and feelings in a journal as if you are writing a letter to God. Feelings are as important as thoughts. Don’t edit either, just “Pour it all out, wheat and chaff together.” Free associate, write whatever comes to mind. No one else will see this journal.

 Getting out all that’s inside you in this way is a great help in and of itself, but you can do more. After you’ve done that, ask for God’s help. Ask Him for anything you think would solve your problems. Often we “have not because we ask not.”

 The apostle Paul went further. He said we can have peace that surpasses understanding. That speaks of an irrational tranquility in the midst of the hurricane – living in an emotional eye of the storm. We get there by simply requesting what you want with the right attitude. That starts with an attitude of gratitude, but it doesn’t end there. Paul says we should ask with both “supplication and thanksgiving.” 

 First off, gratitude is a wonderful tonic for what ails us. Most of what’s happening in our lives is terrific, but we forget that when we feel blue. It’s human nature to obsess over the negative. Take some time each day to write down at least five things you are thankful for. You’ll be amazed how your disposition instantly brightens.

 However, supplication is even more important than gratitude. Most people have no idea what the word means. Supplication means humbly accepting whatever answer comes our way.

 God answers all our prayers, but sometimes his answer is NO, sometimes it’s simply WAIT. If you know God’s love for you is deeper than the love of a parent for a child, greater than any earthly love you have ever known, than you can humbly accept the times when He says no. It means He has something better in mind. He has a greater purpose. It often involves changing us, not just changing our circumstances. A wise teacher once said, God fixes a fix to fix us, but if we fix the fix before He fixes us, He has to fix another fix to fix us!

 Jesus came to give us an abundant life but many things interfere with that. As soon as we give our life to Him, He begins shaping our character to enable us to receive and live out the abundant life He has for us. Many of us have control issues. We want what we want and we want it now. Others may feel so worthless that they can’t believe God intends any good for them. Still others are afraid to trust God. They may have faced huge disappointments in life – divorce, the loss of a loved one, betrayal by trusted friends, an unjust firing. Often, they can’t believe even God is dependable. They probably prayed and it seemed God didn’t hear, or worse: He didn’t care.

 If you have given Him your life, He is working to shape your character to enable you to have a full, rich, meaningful abundant life. When you have trouble trusting Him, as I sometimes do, you can even ask Him for the trust with which to trust Him. I’ve had to do that sometimes and it’s a prayer He loves to answer.

 A final pointer that often helps me with depression is even simpler: take a hike! Thoreau said he had never had a problem that didn’t go away after a long walk. I can’t explain why this works but it usually does. Something about walking clears the head and gets the blood flowing and oxygen pumping in ways that makes life look subtly but wonderfully different.

 If none of this works, therapy or healing may be necessary. I would encourage you to use prescription drugs as a last resort, because there is always a downside and they merely treat symptoms, they never heal anything. In healing therapy, like I use at my retreats and with personal clients, we will go back through the painful event to heal the core pain that keeps you from enjoying an abundant life. We then invite God to “heal the brokenhearted and set the bruised person free.” The Spirit moves so powerfully people call it the pain that feels good. Afterwards they often experience a wonderful tingling for minutes or even hours as the Holy Spirit gently, lovingly restores the damaged places in the soul.

 Therapy or a retreat like that is never convenient. Everything seems to stand in the way of it. But I know this: I shudder to think what would have become of my life had I not done the healing work I’ve done. I recently asked a friend what her life would be like had she not attended her first retreat. She said it was too horrible to contemplate.

 We often put ourselves last in a way that isn’t good. Healing is an investment in yourself. When you get better, so does your life, and so do all those you love. With God’s help, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, damage from rape or abuse, midlife malaise and any other emotionally based disorder is simple to treat, the root causes easy to heal. If you need that, why wait? Let nothing stand in your way of getting it.



Ken Unger is President of and founder of, where you can learn more about him and his transformative ministry. click here ,
 "Ken's new book, The Ultimate Breakthrough, goes beyond self help to self healing. You can preview it at  The Ultimate Breakthrough "
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